Thursday, June 24, 2010

50 blogs on disbelief - Final Summary

Now that I’m done, I will update the best of list, I think there is one new one since I originally gave this summary. All in all the exercise was a bit more tedious than I had hoped. I hope some of you found it worthwhile. It did provide many opportunities to comment on a wide range of issues from psychology to mushroom gods. I am an advocate of soliciting opinions without editing as these authors did, it helps to broaden the conversation, so I acknowledge the editors for their work. I am also an advocate of critical thinking and doing some fact checking on anything you read. The editors leave that up to you.

Overall, I categorize the essays into three groups.
1. The really good ones.
2. The “what’s wrong with religion” ones. Mainly complaining about fundamentalist Christians or Muslims.
3. Logical arguments about the non-existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, all-knowing, all-loving God who consciously manages the universe.

The third group doesn’t interest me much anymore because I have been over them a few times. It always ends up with a matter of choice or faith or a premise that can’t be proven. If you have never been through these arguments and you want to know about them, this book covers them all pretty well. There is some repetition, which is good for getting perspectives, but you might be tired of them by time you are done.

A lot of people reject the theology of their parents or their teachers, without considering that there are other theologies. A lot of people reject any theology once they realize there is more than one. There is some logic to this, especially when you consider there are currently thousands of options, but it rejects the notion that there might be some good found in one or in similarities in the many.

The second group is interesting, but I’m not sure short essays are the best approach. Again if you are familiar with none of the issues, this is a good place to start. However there are much better sources to learn about the rise of the religious right or the roots of fundamentalism or the history of Islam. Focusing on one expression of religion does not necessarily lead to a conclusion about all religion. Frieder Otto Wolf, in my last review of the 50 (A Voice of Disbelief in a Different Key) was one of the few who made this distinction.

Buy the book for the best ones, they are:

Why Am I a Nonbeliever – I Wonder (This is the best one on evolution)
Confessions of a Kindergarten Leper
The Accidental Exorcist
The Unconditional Love of Reality
He has published the whole essay on his site
Giving Up Ghosts and Gods
A Voice of Disbelief in a Different Key

And a sub-group, a couple more on evolution
Gods Inside
An Ambivalent Nonbelief

1 comment:

  1. A true labor of love! Thank yo so very much for taking the time to share your thoughts on this anthology with us. I suspect it might have taken you a long time in the end. From what I gather it was a worthwhile exercise! Be well, udo